MSP Rescue Woman from Burning Vehicle in P.G. County

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (March 11, 2009) – Colonel Terrence B. Sheridan is commending a Maryland State Police corporal and a cadet for their decisive and courageous actions that saved the life of a woman whom they pulled from a burning vehicle in Prince George’s County this morning.

Shortly before 6:30 a.m. today, Corporal John P. Griffin and Cadet Andrew Neall, of the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, were on-duty in the Upper Marlboro Scale House on Rt. 301, when they were contacted by a Prince George’s County Department of Corrections officer. The officer reported a vehicle had driven off the road on southbound Rt. 301 near Leeland Drive.

Corporal Griffin and Cadet Neall immediately responded to the scene. As they approached, they could see fire leaping six feet above the Hyundai. The engine compartment was fully engulfed in fire as were both front tires. Fire was also seen coming from the undercarriage of the vehicle as far back as the middle of the passenger compartment. Witnesses told the trooper and cadet they had not seen the driver.

Cadet Neall attempted to open the driver’s door, but found it locked. Corporal Griffin broke in the driver’s window and observed the passenger compartment to be completely filled with smoke.

After a few seconds, the smoke cleared enough for Corporal Griffin the see the driver slumped over the center console. Corporal Griffin unbuckled the incoherent driver and began to remove her from the burning vehicle. He said he could feel the heat from the fire at his feet and legs.

Corporal Griffin and Cadet Neall rescued the driver from the vehicle and began to carry her up the hill. They were less than 15 feet from the vehicle when the entire interior of the Hyundai erupted and was totally consumed in fire.

Corporal Griffin began to assess the driver for injuries when Prince George’s Fire Department and EMS units arrived on the scene. Once treatment was initiated by EMS personnel, the driver became coherent and later refused any further medical attention. The driver was identified as Melody Grimm, 57, of Crofton, Maryland.

The cause of the single-vehicle crash remains under investigation by State Police at the Forestville Barracks. The cause of the fire is also unknown at this time.

Back at the scale house, Corporal Griffin noticed that his boots and the legs of his uniform pants were singed from the fire. Rescuing people from fires is not something new to Corporal Griffin. He is a volunteer firefighter at the Church Hill Volunteer Fire Department. Corporal Griffin and Cadet Neall are continuing their shift at the scale house today and can be reached at 301-627-2206.

“I commend Corporal Griffin and Cadet Neall for their heroic actions today that uphold the highest standards and traditions of the Maryland State Police,” Colonel Sheridan said. “Their decisive and unselfish actions clearly resulted in a life being saved, for which we are all grateful.”

Source: MSP HQ, Pikesville

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